A Hull councillor has defended a controversial NHS scheme that uses taxpayers’ money to train unemployed teenagers to sail boats.

The training shows jobless 17 to 19 year olds how to run a 72 ft vessel, also teaching them first aid, woodwork and metalwork, at a cost of around £400,000.

Conservative Party leader David Cameron attacked the scheme earlier in the week, branding it an “extravagance” that should be justified or scrapped.

But Hull Labour councillor Ken Branson defended the project as beneficial, although he did admit there were problems with it.

He said: “I can understand the huge amount of frustration that it has caused and people’s concerns with the timing, what with the international economy as it is, and the fact it uses a single issue and minority of users. Many people feel they have already had a chance and they don’t need another one.”

No NHS representative was available for comment.